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1 Introduction
2 Muscle Injury and Repair
3 Growth Factor Research
4 Application Techniques

Muscle injuries account for around 30% of all injuries in the English Premier League. A muscle strain typically keeps a player out of action for 3 to 4 weeks and clubs employ full time medical staff in order to reduce this down time. Conventionally, this treatment comprises physiotherapy which uses prescribed procedures such as ice, electrotherapy, massage, mobilisation, manipulation and exercise to optimise the healing process.

Some sports medicine doctors are very interested in the use of new technologies, which promise to enhance injury healing and reduce a player's injury time. Growth Factor therapy is a new treatment which is being applied in the treatment of sporting injuries.

Using technology that was developed for the treatment of cancer, Growth Factor therapy involves the use of proteins that occur naturally in our body, called Growth Factors. Growth Factors are chemical messenger cells and there are lots of different biological functions that they can induce by binding to receptors on cell surfaces. In cancer patients, Growth Factors called 'Cytokines' can help the immune system recognize and destroy the cancerous cells.

Growth Factors occur naturally as part of the body's immune system, but can also be produced in the laboratory – these are known as recombinant Growth Factors.

There are many different types of Growth Factors, some of which have an effect on muscle tissue healing. To understand how, it helps to know a little about muscle injury and repair.

2 Muscle Injury and Repair

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